MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir (biography in English)
The MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir is the only children's choir within the German Broadcasting Corporation and has influenced the musical life of its hometown for many years.
The only children's choir within the German Broadcasting Corporation (ARD) is located in the heart of central Germany and now offers a musical home to around 180 young singers. Rehearsals take place at MDR's Augustusplatz location in Leipzig, and during their time in the children's choir the various age-groups receive extensive vocal and choral training as well as acquiring a repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to jazz.
As well as regularly rehearsing in different subsections according to age and proficiency, the musical education offered by the choir also comprises vocal training and music theory. The children can be as young as three when admitted to the pre-choir, continuing with the concert-choir right through until they finish school, also enabling boys to stay in the choir after their voices have broken.
The choir's varied repertoire includes not only children's songs, demanding a cappella literature and musical premieres but also works from the choral symphonic repertoire (Rudolf Tobias's "Des Jona Sendung" in 2015, Georges Bizet's "Carmen", Terry Riley's "In C" in 2017 and Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" in 2019). Crossover projects such as "Kinder der Freiheit" with Polarkreis 18 or joint appearances with the Phudys' Dieter Maschine Birr or Peter Maffay are also frequent occurrences. In addition to regular concerts in all of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the choir's schedule regularly includes productions for radio and television and CD recordings, most recently Josef Achtélik's musical fairy-tale play Peterchens Mondfahrt and Hans Sandig's Winter- und Zookantate. Additionally, Engelbert Humperdinck's "Bübchens Weihnachtstraum" will be available from the autumn of 2019.
Founded by Hans Sandig in 1948 the MDR Leipzig Radio Children's Choir celebrated its 70th birthday with a special gala concert in March 2018. Having successfully led the choir from 1990 to 2011 Gunter Berger passed on the baton to Ulrich Kaiser who was responsible for the ensemble for six years. In January 2018 Alexander Schmitt became the choir's artistic director, bringing fresh ideas to the ensemble's work.
International concert tours have taken the young singers to Switzerland, the USA, Australia, Poland, Qatar and most recently the Czech Republic for concerts, school projects and workshops. Two awards from the International Choir Competition in Verona serve as impressive testimony to the quality of the musical training provided by MDR.